High school (noun):
A period of about four years that is not quite as terrible as middle school, yet not as thrilling as college. A time of discovering one’s self, all while dealing with dilemmas including (but not limited to) acne, braces, lack of self-esteem. Usually a time when one is unable to see eye to eye with parents/guardians, thinking they (along with the rest of the world) are treating you unfairly.
Ok so clearly that is not the text book definition for high school. It’s my biased definition based on my own experiences. The true definition, according to the Webster dictionary, is “a school especially in the United States usually including grades 9–12 or 10–12.” Sure that’s true, but if you ask anyone who is, or was, in high school they would tell you it is so much more than that.
When I think back to my four years at Wethersfield High School (1997 – 2001) I can clearly split it into two time periods in my mind.
Part 1 (Freshman and Sophomore years):
This was the worse of the two time periods. I was trying to get some sort of fresh start from middle school (which was pretty much awful). I wanted so badly to “fit in” and for people to like me. I wanted to feel happy and like myself but struggled a lot with this. Sophomore year I was tired of being “the fat girl” (I laugh now looking back at pictures of what I considered fat) so I started an extreme “diet.”
In retrospect I clearly had developed an eating disorder. I was scared to eat food and went as far as dumping meals down the garbage disposal when no one was looking so they would still think I had eaten. My daily diet consisted of carrots or a small salad, a few saltine crackers, coffee, and diet pills. I obsessed with exercising too; rollerblading between four and six miles fairly regularly and there were many nights I would actually get out of bed do crunches, lunges, leg lifts, push-ups, all because I felt I hadn’t burned enough calories throughout the day.
Part 2 (Junior/Senior years):
I found the love of my life – my future husband – when I was only sixteen. He was a year younger than me (yes, I know, I was a cougar in the making)! We started off as friends (well, I had a crush on him from the very beginning) and it later developed into a relationship. I was most happy during this second part of my high school career. Not just because I had a great boyfriend, but I was also enjoying a lot of innocent fun with friends including pool parties, playing flag football (in the snow), trips to our local diner.
I guess I was a bit of a goody two-shoes. I didn’t drink, smoke, do drugs and I think most of that had to do with the group of people I surrounded myself with. My biggest rebellion was piercing the top cartilage of my ear with a safety pin at night while my mom was sleeping. I guess I thought that made me some sort of badass! I babysat a lot, and worked at an amazing day care center in my home town.
Even in high school I knew one day I wanted to get married, have a house, along with two children. I feel so lucky and thankful my dreams came true!
One last thing before you go… if I could offer my high school self just one piece of advice it would be this: Treasure your high school years a bit more and try not to rush through it. Cherish the nights of uninterrupted sleep, lack of responsibilities and bills to pay because, honey, that ain’t gonna last forever!